Getting a good night’s rest is necessary for healthy living. You can develop stroke or heart complications when you don’t get enough sleep. However, getting enough sleep for some is challenging because they suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated stoppage and restarting of breathing processes during sleep. People who suffer from sleep apnea gasp for breath during sleep or wake up with a dry mouth.
Moreover, there are two types of sleep apnea – obstructive and central.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When your upper airway repeatedly becomes obstructed while you sleep, lowering or entirely stopping airflow, you develop obstructive sleep apnea. This kind of sleep apnea is the most prevalent. Obesity, large tonsils, or changes in hormone levels can all restrict the airway and raise the chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea
When your brain fails to send the impulses required to breathe, central sleep apnea happens. Central sleep apnea can be brought on by medical disorders that interfere with how your brain regulates your airway and chest muscles.
The good news is sleep apnea can be prevented. However, if you already have sleep apnea, there are things you should keep in mind. Thankfully, this article discusses things you should keep in mind if you have sleep apnea.
Watch Your Sleep Posture
Your sleep posture can improve the symptoms of sleep apnea or worsen them. For instance, sleeping on your back will increase your chances of developing sleep apnea. So, you must sleep on your side, with your back straight, to allow for easy air passage.
Also, sleeping on the stomach can improve the Sleep Apnea Symptoms. However, it would be best to use a comfortable pillow when sleeping on your stomach to reduce the strain on your neck.
Change your lifestyle
Certain lifestyles are risk factors for developing sleep apnea. For instance, not sticking to a sleep schedule is a risk factor that worsens your sleep apnea symptoms. Likewise, taking alcohol and pain medications will worsen your sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol and pain medications will relax the breathing muscles causing Obstructive sleep apnea.
Further, you can quit smoking and eat a balanced diet when you want to deal with snoring. When you change these lifestyle habits, you will improve the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Consider a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine(CPAP) Machine
A continuous positive airway pressure machine is a mask worn at night to increase the amount of air that flows through your airways. The pressured air from CPAP will force the airways to remain open. Hence, ensuring the continuous flow of air into the body.
However, CPAP masks can be uncomfortable for some, but there are different types of CPAP masks. You can meet your doctor to tailor a mask to meet your basic needs.
Consider a Dental Appliance
Dental appliances function like mouthguards, and they are an alternative therapy to CPAP. Oral appliance therapy helps straighten your lower jaw, tightening the soft palate and muscles around your throat. By doing this, air passages in the upper respiratory tract are widened.
However, oral appliances have a specific fitting. Therefore, it would be best if you met your doctor to know which oral appliance will meet your basic needs.
Change Your Pillow
Pillows come in different shapes, pressure, and firmness, affecting your sleeping posture. So while we say you must sleep on your side to prevent sleep apnea, you must know how to use a pillow when you sleep on your side.
Use thicker pillows that take the strain off your shoulders for side sleepers. For stomach sleepers use thinner pillows that will keep their spin in the natural alignment. Further, you should change your mattress too if you want to improve sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep Apnea Self-care
With sleep apnea, it is necessary to have a self-care. You may add the following to your routine in order to have a better care for yourself:
A comprehensive sleep apnea treatment plan involves regular meditation. Studies have shown that meditation is more beneficial than evening sleep hygiene practices for reducing apnea symptoms. Users of CPAPs who practice meditation claim to be more at ease using their machines and experience deeper sleep as a result. Moreover, meditation reduces the daytime effects of sleep apnea, such as chronic fatigue-related depression. By incorporating meditation in your sleep apnea treatment plan, you can wake up happier and healthier.
Exercises for the oropharynx can assist tone and strengthen the muscles that directly support maintaining an open airway. Different workouts target various muscles, just like working out other body parts’ muscles. Depending on which part of your mouth is weaker, you’ll need to perform certain mouth exercises. Knowing which areas of your mouth to exercise and why can help your CPAP therapy work better. Frequent mouth exercises may help minimize sleep apnea symptoms.
Check your prescriptions
Your sleep apnea may get worse if you use certain prescription drugs. The most likely culprits for this are muscle relaxants and medications, especially opioids. To ensure that your current meds aren’t making your situation worse, tell your doctor about all of them.
Use of humidifiers
The use of humidifiers is one of the key components of sleep apnea therapy. They significantly lessen the dryness and discomfort that many people who have sleep apnea suffer on a regular basis. When it becomes cold, those bothersome sleep apnea symptoms may get worse.
To Wrap It Up
Dental appliances, CPAP, and comfy pillows can help improve sleep apnea symptoms. This article discusses five things you should keep in mind if you have sleep apnea. One thing we discuss is a change of lifestyle habits. When you quit smoking, drinking, and using pain medications, you’re certainly improving your sleep apnea symptoms.
 What Is Sleep Apnea? (n.d). Nhlbi.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-apnea#:~:text=Sleep%20apnea%20is%20a%20common,body%20from%20getting%20enough%20oxygen. [Accessed February 17, 2023]
 Agwara, M. (2019). Cardiovascular Exercise Participation and Obstructive Sleep Apnea among Adults Over Normal Weight in the United States. ScholarWorks.Waldenu.edu. Available at: https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/7361/. [Accessed February 17, 2023]
 Humidifiers and Treatment Compliance (n.d). Resmed.com. Available at: https://www.resmed.com/en-us/sleep-apnea/sleep-blog/humidifiers-and-treatment-compliance/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20important,when%20the%20weather%20turns%20cold. [Accessed February 17, 2023]